Festival offerings show the might of pen and paintbrush

Sue MacLaine as Henrietta Moraes in a scene from Still Life - An Audience with Henrietta Moraes. Photo: Matthew Andrews

Tales of a real-life battle of brains in wartime Britain, a famous artist's model revealing all and how America's founding father Thomas Paine learned to brandish a pen in Lewes are among the University of Sussex contributions to Brighton Festival and Festival Fringe 2011.

The University is an Associate Sponsor of the Brighton Festival, guest-directed this year by the celebrated Burmese politician and democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed by the Burmese military regime in 2010 after 20 years under house arrest.

Fighting tyranny with the power of words could also describe the subject of an event featuring University of Sussex Vice-Chancellors past and present in conversation.

Secret Days book coverFormer V-C and University founding father Asa Briggs will talk to current Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing about his time as part of the famous Enigma code-breaking team of Bletchley Park (Brighton Corn Exchange, Sunday 22 May, 2.30pm). 

One of Britain's best-known and most respected historians, Lord Briggs' lesser known role was that of World War II code breaker in Bletchley Park's Hut Six, the section that deciphered Enigma machine messages from the German Army and Air Force.

The efforts of people such as Lord Briggs and Alan Turing possibly helped to determine the outcome of war in the Allies' favour.

The talk coincides with the May launch of Lord Briggs' memoir of that time, Secret Days, which will take place at Bletchley in the presence of other surviving Hut Six veterans. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the fund to restore Hut 6 to its former glory.

Life History and Life Writing MA student and performer Sue MacLaine, meantime, takes on the persona of artist's model and professional bohemian Henrietta Moraes for her one-woman show, Still Life - An Audience with Henrietta Moraes.  (Life Drawing Studio, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton: Sunday May 8 (7pm perf only), 15, 22 and Saturday 14, 21 and 28. Saturdays at 3pm and 7pm; Sundays at 12pm, 3pm and 7pm).

Moraes, the queen of the 1950s Soho set of hard-drinking artists, writers and characters, was muse and model for Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and latterly for the artist Maggi Hambling.

Sue, who is inspired in her performance work by her MA studies in the University's Centre for Community Engagement (CCE), will literally bare all as she recounts the louche, extraordinary life of Moraes while simultaneously posing for the audience.  Artists' materials will be provided for all audience members who fancy trying their hand at a drawing during the performance.

Other events include:

  • An illustrated talk by PhD student Paul Myles on the life of the local revolutionary and founding father of the United States of America, Thomas Paine. Find out how Sussex society changed shaped his world-changing writing skills in Lewes. Thomas Paine in Lewes, The Old Courtroom, Brighton, Friday 27 May at 6pm
  • PhD student and local historian Geoffrey Mead is well known for his history walks through Brighton. During the Fringe Festival he will have three sets of guided walks looking at different historic areas of Brighton, including afternoon walks in Montpelier & Clifton Hill districts and evening walks in the city centre. Both start at St Nicholas Church. A third walk, in the afternoons, sets off from the Pavilion Gardens café, which is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. All walks emphasise the historical and geographical aspects of the city neighbourhoods - a core topic in the Landscape Studies BA in the University's Centre for Community Engagement.
  • The relationship between art and medicine is the theme of two Brighton and Sussex Medical School events. Art and Medicine (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May, 11am to 4pm) is an exhibition of sculpture, painting, photography, digital installation and performance by BSMS students exploring the communication of ideas about medicine. On 28 May BSMS will host talks by the students and leading arts and science experts on the subject of Pespectives on Art and Medicine (Saturday 28 May, 1pm to 5pm). Both events take place in the BSMS teaching building on the University of Sussex campus and are open to all.
  • And critics planning to pen a caustic review or two, take note: Sussex University Drama Society (SUDS) will be performing a revenge comedy about the unintended consequences of a review in the play Three Stars by second-year student John Moore, and directed by John and fellow student Alice Devlin-Baugh (Brighton Media Centre studio, Middle Street, Brighton, 17-21 May at 6pm). SUDS is one of the largest societies at the university and produces around 15 high-quality productions a year, which include shows taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Notes for Editors

For full details of Brighton Festival see: http://www.brightonfestival.org/

For full details of Brighton Festival Fringe see: http://www.brightonfringe.org.uk/

To book tickets by phone call 01273 709 709.

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jacqui Bealing and Daniëlle Treanor. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email: press@sussex.ac.uk

View press releases online at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/newsandevents/


Last updated: Monday, 18 February 2013